As kids, we do what’s expected of us by our parents. We watch our manners, brush our teeth, bath the dog, don’t try to burn down the house (still sorry about that, Mom), respect our elders, and eat what we’re told – because it’s good for us, and in front of us. As we grow up we challenge many of the habits or core values that were instilled in us by our parents. I remember how I thought that my parents ways were so out of touch because they were European, and we weren’t Americanized enough. I pined to go to Disneyland for vacation, instead of having to spend my summers in the South of France – no really, I resented spending weeks on end in some of the most gorgeous hillside villages in the world, surrounded by deep culture, amazing produce farms and famous wineries, because my friends got to see Donald Duck. Hard to know what you don’t know.
Luckily for me, and my kids, I’ve grown up a bit. I’ve come to cherish some of the time spent on my family vacations, except now using my experiences to craft more family friendly vacations, and yes they’ve included Disneyland, and I fricken LOVED it!
I’ve tried to take the important lessons and experiences that my parents gave me and blend them with what I believe is a better way to pass on the same type of traveling experiences. Along with traveling, food was a focal part of our family, however much like our traveling, it was ALL about my father and what he wanted. There wasn’t even a consideration that an 8 year old may not like Foie gras, and that the values of being a vegetarian raised child may be real – my father did not completely connect to my mother’s vegetarianism. What this means is that there was a complicated story to how I was raised to choose food. My parents were sort of at odds, and they both had their own issues around food and drink. As I aged and connected with others about food issues, I’ve come to realize that my upbringing was not out of the norm, and that most people I know do not have a good understanding of the food they were fed, and then taught to eat.
I’m fortunate to have had the mother I did. She was a food pioneer and devoted many years of her life to feeding her family as best as she could. In the 70’s she believed like it was gospel that we are what we eat and she would not compromise what her kids ate. My own journey has been far from perfect but she gave me the foundation to know how to right my ship and got prepared to have my own family. My food education started with her but has been added to by so many passionate people, from all around me that has helped me get a good sense of how to make better food choices for me and my family.
With my small amount of knowledge, and an acute understanding of how food affects me, I’ve become more and more amazed at the current state of our food system. Maybe this is once again top of mind because I just spent last weekend in the US where food choices are killing more people than guns and, really, unfortunately, that’s just fine with the great majority. We’re not really better in Canada. The facts for North America are spelt out like this:
The top 10 killers are:
- Heart Disease – by far the largest group (1 in 4 of all deaths)
- Cancer (All)
- Respiratory Disease
- Kidney Disease
There is a very simple way to unpack this information. Visit https://nutritionfacts.org/ where you will have access to all of the fact based information that will explain in detail why most of the deaths in the list above are preventable. Spoiler alert – it all has to do with food choices. Want to take it to the next level, read this book.
Ok, I realize that this is all really heavy, really fast. This conversation usually is somewhat, however this is the point of my ramble. Modern Eating is about taking current information and blending it with food choices that are really tasty, satisfying (like comforting, which is critically important), and good for us and the planet.
I believe that Cook Culture has an important job. We supply the best gear and tools we can find to make food at home and we educate people how to simply make food taste better that is better for us. Nothing we do is overly complicated or what we would consider fancy. Our goal is to be very very approachable and to ensure that people get the most bang for their buck. This brings me and my crew to an interesting predicament – we know, because of the data and studies available, that there is a type of eating that would give anyone the very best chance to avoid at least 8/10 of the majors causes of death in North America. So, logically all of our in-store conversations and all of our classes should teach this way, no?
This is where we need to be realistic. We acknowledge that the majority of the population is not ready to stop eating bacon, full stop. Although we have recognized that many more people are accepting that too much bacon is bad for their heart, and that they’re making a choice to eat it, eat less of it, or not at all.
This is important, because that is where we are shifting to in the food system. Us adults have choices. We need to spend just a little bit more time educating ourselves on what we could do to feed ourselves better. All of us must learn more about the benefits of eating more vegetables and how changing our habits could add more years onto a better life. Not always feeding our kids from the kids menus, and forcing them to eat more greens (it can be done, I’ve seen it happen).
As a company, we’re going to do our best to continue being a resource, understanding that some people won’t care about the nutritional content of what they put in their body. Some will care but not have the energy, understanding or will power to make a change, But fortunately, I believe there is a large and growing part of the population that wants to live better. They want to live the best life they can and are willing to make some changes but they must be reasonable and achievable. This is why we have some very specific but simplified Plant forward classes on the calendar, and many of our classes can easily be made 80% to 100% plant based without changing any of the methods, time or process.
I believe that Modern Eating is about making better food choices. These choices should lead to a happier, longer life, that is full of energy and wellness. Of course there are many, many complicated factors that could impede this process but we advocate to keep it simple. As Michael Pollan famously wrote, “Eat Food, not too much, mostly plants”
Live long and Prosper. Jed